How to Slow Down When You Have to Hurry

Jennifer Doron

While it’s pretty easy for me to slow down while I am on vacation (which I am!), Jennifer Doron shares how important it is for you to slow down at work too. ~Kivi

Guest Post by Jennifer Doron of the Ohio Environmental Council

Earlier this year, I took the  “Feedback and Fine-Tuning: Twitter” webinar.

I came away with some terrific ideas, including how to increase our number of followers by inviting those who are on our email list AND on Twitter to follow us. Easy peasy, right?

So the next day, I went through our email list (about 8,000 contacts), downloaded them to Excel, uploaded them to a dummy Gmail account, and then uploaded those contacts to Twitter.

Twitter then searched the contacts to see if any matched people on Twitter who don’t already follow us. Then it invited those to follow us. Within a day we had 40 new followers. Great!

Unfortunately, in my haste to do this ‘quick tip’ – and my failure to read closely – I let Twitter also email contacts who were NOT on Twitter, including those that had opted out of receiving email from us. Oops.

I should know better than to hurry. Even when a task is easy peasy.

I’ve learned over the years that I can’t really change my urge to hurry, but have learned to put up speed bumps that force me to slow down. If only I hadn’t ignored those speed bumps!

  • Step away from the computer. If I am sending out an important email, once I get to the approve or send stage, I step away – literally. I get a drink of water, step outside, anything to mentally and physically take a break so I can go back fresh to finish the task.
  • Let it rest. Even better than stepping away is to sleep on it. If you can, let the email or letter or blog post rest over night. Your mind and eyes will be even more refreshed the next day.
  • Get someone else. Have someone else proof it, especially if you have that gut feeling that there is a mistake but you can’t find it. And don’t get the same person you always use. Try an intern. They are great for proofreading because they are often excited to point out a mistake made by a ‘professional.’
  • Refuse to hurry. This is what I try to do the most, and it’s only by years of practice that I succeed. Think of the worst case scenario. What happens if I don’t get that email out RIGHT NOW. What happens if it goes out in an hour, or tomorrow, once I’ve gone through the above steps? No one will die. You won’t lose thousands of dollars. No one will even notice, except maybe your boss.

But consider this. There are two reasons we hurry – pressure on ourselves and pressure from others to hurry. If you are serious about being really, really good at your job, then you must resist both.

Doing things well takes time and patience, and if neither of these come naturally, then put in speed bumps for yourself. You will thank yourself!

What self-imposed speed bumps can you add to this list?

 

Jennifer Doron (Jennifer@theOEC.org) is Director of Marketing & Communications for the Ohio Environmental Council. She also writes fiction under the pen name Jen McConnell. Keep up with the OEC: twitter @OhioEnviro, and Facebook at Ohio Environmental Council

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